It’s no coincidence that the Green Bay Packers’ offense has jump started with the return of the electric and explosive Randall Cobb.
Green Bay’s offense struggled during their 1-2 start in large part because Cobb was showing rust from his broken leg last season and Aaron Rodgers was locking in on Jordy Nelson too much because he had nobody else he trusted. Now, with Cobb returning to form and the emergence of rookie wide receiver Davante Adams, the Packers almost have a complete set of weapons for Rodgers with the only thing missing being a tight end.
Cobb is in line to receive a new big contract next season if he continues to put up these numbers. He caught six passes for 121 yards and a touchdown yesterday against Carolina. That touchdown brought his season total to eight, which leads the NFL.
You do not think of Cobb as a prototypical red zone threat at 5-feet, 10-inches tall. You tend to think of big players like Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant who you can throw fade passes to, although those can be low percentage red zone plays at times. Also, touchdowns can be random and luck driven. For example, Johnson had only five touchdowns in 2009 and 2012, but at least 12 in every other year other than his rookie season. He did not perform any worse in those two years than the others; he just got unlucky with many receptions falling just short of the end zone.
However, Cobb has an amazing ability to find the soft spots in zones in the red zone and has great chemistry with Rodgers when the quarterback rolls out of the pocket. All four of Rodgers’ touchdown passes outside of the pocket have gone to Cobb.
While Cobb has been scoring touchdowns all season, his game breaking agility was not on display early in the season. He averaged under 10 yards per catch in each of his first three games, but has averaged 14.8 yards per catch during Green Bay’s four game win streak. Carolina simply could not tackle Cobb in the open field.
There was one play that really stood out to me for Cobb yesterday. The first was Cobb’s 47-yard reception down to the three-yard line. I was at the game and had a perfect view of this play from my end zone seat.
Cobb was initially covered on his route, but as Rodgers rolled out he droped back behind the linebacker to an open spot and Rodgers found him and threw a perfect ball. Cobb then juked one of the best linebackers in the NFL in Luke Kuechly out of his shoes before he raced across the field and down the left sideline. That play involved all of his best qualities wrapped up into one play.
According to Overthecap.com, the Packers currently have $18.9 million in cap space next offseason, and Cobb will be their top priority. After letting go Greg Jennings and James Jones they must sign him. Two things that could hurt Cobb in the open market are that teams might not think he will be as good away from Rodgers and that he is only a slot receiver.
The New York Giants gave slot receiver Victor Cruz a six-year, $45.9 million contract with $15 million guaranteed. That’s probably a good place to look for what Cobb will want. If he keeps up his level of play that he has over the Packers’ four game winning streak he will be worth every penny.